Since he’s come from Raw to Smackdown Live, #WWE superstar Jinder Mahal has made the most of the opportunities given to him.
On the April 18 episode of #SmackdownLive, Mahal won a six-pack challenge - after interference from the Singh Brothers (a.k.a. The Bollywood Boyz) which began the formation of a new stable - for the No. 1 contendership for the WWE title.
After he won the six-pack challenge, Mahal asserted his status and called out the fans in a good heel post-match promo.
Mahal garnered some real life heat from fans after he won the six-pack challenge. Some folks tired of the anti-American gimmick - which has been a staple in professional wrestling for decades. However, Mahal animosity on the crowd focuses more on people’s intolerance of foreign wrestlers rather than the classic “(insert country) is better than the United States” tagline.
Others felt wrestlers like United States champion Kevin Owens, former world title holder A.J. Styles and recent Smackdown signee Shinsuke Nakamura deserve to face Orton. There’s also speculation that WWE’s expansion into India is playing a part in Mahal’s ascension up the ranks.
Mahal, real name Yuvraj Singh "Raj" Dhesi, is of Punjabi Sikh origin and from Calgary, Alberta Canada.
I think WWE made a good move in pushing Mahal to the main event scene, and putting him in a stable with the Singh Brothers. Most fans think he’ll take a loss to Orton when they have clash at Backlash and move on to the U.S. title. Personally, I’d like to see Mahal as WWE champion, even if it’s only for a cup of coffee.
One of the nice things about Mahal being plugged into a program with Orton is that it gives the WWE champion a new opponent. Orton has been in a program with Wyatt for the last several months, and while the angle has had some high points it culminated in a terrible match at Wrestlemania 33 with a typical babyface Orton coming out on top.
After Mahal won the match, Orton confronted him and during a promo, teased an RKO before turning his attention to Wyatt. Last Tuesday, Mahal confronted and attacked Orton - with the help of the Singh Brothers - then took the WWE title. This is a good way to push their program a little bit because now it’s personal - Mahal has Orton’s property and is on the Apex Predator’s list.
Not only is Mahal a new opponent for Orton, he’s also a fresh face in the WWE title picture. Pundits complain about WWE not pushing young talent and relying on veterans and part-timers.
Putting the WWE title on Mahal also elevates the Singh Brothers. The WWE and NXT universes have seen a little bit of what Gurv and Harv Sihra - now known as Sunil and Samir Singh on Smackdown Live - can do through their participation in the Cruiserweight Classic and their appearances on NXT and 205 Live. However, being heels allows them to cut loose when it comes to developing their promos and personas - maybe even a run with the Smackdown tag team titles to add some more hardware to the stable.
And if Mahal’s push is due to WWE’s India expansion, then they have a good opportunity to make him a potential Punjab icon. He’s going to need a little time to tweak his promo skills - though the only complaint I’ve got is he’s yelling just a bit too much - but he’s taken advantage of the opportunities WWE has given him since he’s returned.